Performing Arts

TEMFest opens with Cuban play newly set in Miami

Simone Balmaseda appears in ‘Lo que el circo se llevó,’ Juan Roca’s adaptation of ‘El premio flaco,’ at TEMFest 2014.
Simone Balmaseda appears in ‘Lo que el circo se llevó,’ Juan Roca’s adaptation of ‘El premio flaco,’ at TEMFest 2014. Ernesto Garcia

The fifth annual TEMFest, a Spanish-language theater festival, will open on Wednesday with a tribute to three local actors, followed by the opening on Thursday of Lo que el circo se llevó (Gone With the Circus), the first of six plays to be presented over the 18 days of the festival.

Wednesday’s opening ceremony at the On.Stage Black Box of the Miami Dade County Auditorium will honor three well-known figures of the Hispanic stage: actors Griselda Nogueras, Mario Martín and Julie de Grandy.

Nogueras started her career in her native Havana, acting on stage, radio and early television. Jailed for expressing her opposition to the regime, she left the island in the 1960s. Her performances in the plays La casa de Bernarda Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba), Damas retiradas (Retired Ladies), Las niñas ricas de Camagüey (The Rich Girls from Camagüey) and Sarah — for which she received the Carbonell award — are well remembered, as is her work on the telenovelas El magnate (The magnate), Marielena, Guadalupe y Acorralada (Guadalupe and Cornered), among others.

Martín was also recognized in Cuba for his versatility, which allowed him to open doors in Mexico and Miami, where he arrived in 1966. For almost five decades the actor, writer and director has stood out in dubbing of movies to Spanish, radio, telenovelas, films and stage plays, including Fuenteovejuna, El médico a palos (The Beating of the Doctor), Divinas palabras (Divine Words) and Esperando a Godot (Waiting for Godot).

De Grandy, born in Havana, is a prolific playwright as well as a novelist, poet, producer and an actress.

The series opener, Lo que el circo se llevó (Gone With the Circus), is a co-production of Theater in Miami Studio and Miami-Dade County Auditorium, adapted and directed by Juan Roca, based on Hector Quintero’s original Cuban classic play El premio flaco (The Skinny Prize). MDCA Black Box Theatre, Thursday-Friday.

The tragicomedy, performed by Simone Balmaseda, tells the story of a humble woman whose life is disrupted after winning a prize hidden in a soda can.

“Roca’s version places the story in current Miami with the multiplicity of nationalities that enrich its reality,” said Ernesto Garcia, director of TEMFest 2014.

The festival’s other shows:

▪ Sangre (Blood), critical of Cuba’s situation, by Yunior García, is produced by Belkis Proenza, directed by Erom Jimmy, and stars Proenza, Léster Martínez, Yani Martín and Marcial Reyes. La Casa del Teatro, Oct. 17-19.

▪ Cartas cruzadas (Crossed Letters), a piece about acts of power and individual freedom by Raquel Carrió, is produced by Ingenio Teatro, directed by Lilliam Vega and stars Susana Pérez and Rocío Carmona. Teatro 8, Oct. 17-19.

▪ Rodolfo Martínez Sotomayor, director of the publisher Editorial Silueta, will present the second yearbook of the art and literature magazine Conexos, at Havanafama Teatro Estudio, Oct. 22.

▪ Yerma, a tragedy about a sterile woman by Federico García Lorca, is presented by the Hispanic-American Actors Society and co-directed by Andrés Mejía and Miguel Sahid. The large cast is headed by Roxana Montenegro, Jonathan Freudman, Alba Raquel Barros and Sahid. Teatro de Bellas Artes, Oct. 18-19.

▪ Destino de dos cosas o de tres (The Destiny of Two or Three Things), an “absurd” love story by Rafael Spregelburd, is presented by Cirko Teatro, directed by Alejandro Vales and performed by Jessica Alvarez Diéguez, Amylkar, Zoe Vales and the director himself. Teatro 8, Oct. 24-26.

▪ Los dictados del fuego (The Fire’s Dictate), by Ulises Cala, is presented by Artspoken and directed by Yoshvany Medina. The production pits Adela Romero against Scarlet Gruber in an acting duel. In the story, Sister Ángela de Jesús is the inflexible superior mother of the San Geronimo convent who will lose her peace upon the arrival of the novice Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz. Artspoken, Oct. 24-26.

If you go

TEMFest 2014 runs from Oct. 8 to 26. For times, locations and prices, see or or call 305-551-7473.